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Ekiti Polls: Lawyer Condemns Vote – Buying

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A constitutional lawyer and President, Voters Awareness Initiative, Mr Wale Ogunade, says that Politicians took the act of vote-buying in Ekiti State gubernatorial election to a higher dimension.
Ogunade told newsmen yesterday in Lagos that the previous acts of vote-buying were done in secret but during the Ekiti election, it was done in the open.
He said that the rising phenomenon of vote-buying during elections called for deep concern.
“Vote-buying is not a new phenomenon in the country. Before now we have had it in Anambra, and before Anambra we had it in Edo.
“But before Edo and Anambra it has always been situations such as stuffing Naira notes inside loaves of bread or they will give people rice, T-shirt, cloths (Ankara) or even in some cases, lace materials and all sorts of materials and ‘tokenism’.
“All with the intention of wooing voters against their conscience to vote for them.
“But no doubt, the Ekiti election has taken vote-buying to a higher dimension. It has now opened it up because it was done with reckless abandon.
“The previous ones were done in secret and now, it has been done in the open during Ekiti election,” he said.
Ogunade said that vote-buying could also be described as “democracy on sale”, which could hinder meaningful development in the country.
“To this extent, I call on INEC to stem this dangerous tide before it engulfs everyone of us and of course, this will serve as a very good precedence between now and Osun polls,” he said.
Ogunade said the coalition of civil societies had forwarded their reports, concerns and recommendations to the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) for appropriate action ahead of the Osun and 2019 elections.
“INEC is the umpire here and I think they should work out the modalities of arresting this situation before it gets out of hand.
“The first thing it should do is to look at the constitution because it has the powers to regulate and organise elections.
“INEC doesn’t need any new law or going to the National Assembly to carry out its functions.
“It should look at its powers as provided for in the Item 15 of the fourth schedule of the 1999 constitution which gives it he power to organise and supervise elections in Nigeria, making rules and regulations.
“So, with that power, it will work out penalties for anybody who is caught buying votes or anybody who takes money. Part of it may also be to cancel the votes in such areas.
“I would not want to put words into INEC’s mouth. It should invite stakeholders, including the media to see how we can get out of this quagmire,” he said
Ogunade urged INEC to intensify the sensitisation, voter education, engagement with political parties and the people before 2019, adding that his organisation would step up campaigns against vote-buying.
“For us as a group,  we would step up our voters’ education campaign, particularly against vote-buying because if we don’t do that, the essence of democracy will be defeated,” he said.

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‘Reps Passed 88 Bills In Two Years’

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The House of Representatives has passed 88 bills out of 1407 bills in the past two years, its spokesperson, Benjamin Kalu (APC, Abia) has said.
The House clocked two years on June 11 and has two years left.
Mr Kalu had earlier  released  different data on the status of legislative activities. However, The Tide source  is yet to independently verify this latest data.
Mr Kalu had claimed that the House considered 853 bills and 41 of them passed, in the previous statement.
According to the new statement released on Friday, a total of 554 bills were introduced between June 2020 and June 2021. It was a sharp decline considering that the House introduced 853 bills between June 2019 and June 2020.
Although the decline could be blamed on the outbreak of Covid-19.
“The accurate number of bills considered by the 9th House of Representatives as of June 10, 2021 is 1407 out of which the House has passed 88 bills.
“Additionally, the accurate number of motions considered by the 9th House of Representatives as of June 10, 2021, is 730 out of which the House has made 98 resolutions on security issues.”
The data released by the lawmaker shows that while the introduction of bills has been easy, the progression of bills has been very slow.
A total of 942 bills are awaiting second reading, only 327 bills have been referred to committees, and 79 are awaiting committee of the whole consideration.
Within the same period, 730 motions were considered by the House. However, out of the 663 referred to committees, only 40 reports have been laid, and only six have been considered by the House.
Legislative activities suffered a great deal in 2020 due to the breakout of Covid-19. The National Assembly was shut down for about two months between March 2020 and May 2020.
At a point, the plenary was reduced to once a week.
However, the lawmakers did not help the situation by embarking on holidays at the slightest opportunity, thereby missing deadlines on passage of key legislation.
Also, a review of the legislative agenda of the House by The Tide source shows that the lawmakers are far behind in fulfilling their agenda.

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Accord To Contest In 12 LGAs

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Accord Party plans to contest only in 12 local government councils and 37 local council development areas at the July 24 council polls in Lagos State.
Its Publicity Secretary, Dele Oladeji, told newsmen in Lagos, yesterday that the party chose to contest only in its areas of strength rather than dissipate energy across the state.
He said Accord Party would contest chairmanship and councillorship seats in Somolu, Mushin, Odi-Olowo, Igando-Ikotun, Agbado Okeodo, Agege, Alimosho, Apapa, Lagos Mainland, Ikorodu, Oshodi/Isolo, and Ifako-Ijaiye LGAs/LCDAs.
Oladeji said that the party had a good outing in these councils at the last council elections in 2017.
“We are set for the election and we are competing in our local governments of strength where we won in 2017.
“We are set to repeat the same feat and even win more than the eight councillorship seats we won in 2017 to become the only opposition party in the local government administration in Lagos State,’’ he said.
Oladeji said that the party was ready to go to court wherever its mandate was stolen as it did in 2017 local government elections.
“As against 2017 when we went to court only in few areas to get back our rigged mandate, this year, we will go to court in any number of local government areas where our mandate is perceived to have been stolen through rigging.
“As the only opposition party in the local government’s administration of Lagos State, we have retained the abiding hope of Lagos residents as the alternative party.”

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Okorocha Cautions Igbos On Secession

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The Senator representing Imo West, Rochas Okorocha, has cautioned the South-East against their agitations for Nigeria’s breakup.
Okorocha warned that Igbos would be the worst hit if Nigeria breaks up.
The former Imo State Governor spoke in Abuja while addressing some women groups yesterday.
Okorocha stressed that the South- East should push towards fixing the country and not its disintegration.
The lawmaker stressed that Igbos are nationalistic in nature, hence they should dismiss the urge for Nigeria’s disintegration.
He said: “It is only an Igbo man that goes to a place and remains put in that place, buys a land and builds a house for his family without feeling insecure. The Igbos will lose more if Nigeria divides.
“Most Nigerian leaders who were successful had one thing or the other to do with the Igbos. It is either they married Igbo women or had some links with them. I can call names like, former President, Obasanjo; former Vice President, Atiku Abubakar, Buba Marwa, just to name a few”.
South-East groups like the Indigenous People of Biafra, IPOB, and the Movement for the Actualization of Sovereignty State of Biafra, MASSOB, have been agitating for the disintegration of Nigeria.
IPOB led by Nnamdi Kanu has been in the forefront, calling for Biafra’s actualisation.

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